A Florida woman was arrested this week after she allegedly cropped a puppy’s ears, botching the job and using fishing line to close the pooch’s painful wounds after the unpermitted procedure, authorities said.
When Natalie Nunez asked the puppy's seller where to get his ears cropped, they suggested Brandi Seipe, who they said could do the job for much cheaper than most places, according to a probable cause affidavit filed by Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control (PBCACC).
Nunez said she brought her 10-week-old red pit bull puppy, King, to Seipe’s apartment on July 12.
Seipe, 19, allegedly said she could crop the dog’s ears for $80 but would not allow Nunez to watch the procedure.
When Nunez returned for King, she was stunned to see the state of her dog, she told authorities.
Seipe allegedly said that the ears would heal and grow and told Nunez to not worry about the sedative she gave King, “because she was a veterinarian technician and had done it several times before to many dogs.”
King also had an adhesive-like substance on his leg, which Seipe allegedly told Nunez was because “she had to tie the puppy’s legs together to hold him still.”
Seipe brought the pup to Healing Arts Veterinary Center, where concerned staff called PBCACC upon seeing King’s uneven and sore ears that had been cropped too close to his head.
“The skin edges were not adequately apposed, resulting in areas where the underlying cartilage was visible. The puppy appeared mildly sedated, but still in pain when the ears were touched,” veterinarian Dr. Bill Sharpe said in a statement to authorities.
A PBCACC officer also noted the dog was in pain, writing: “King appeared to be sensitive to the ear area and would cry and try to get away if I tried to touch or look at them.”
Seipe denied any knowledge or involvement in the ear cropping done to King, telling authorities she used to work for a veterinarian in the past. She was charged with practicing veterinary medicine without a license and animal cruelty.
If convicted, she could face up to five years in prison. Her arraignment is scheduled for September 13.
“Ear cropping is a painful [and] unnecessary procedure that is slowly being eliminated as an acceptable procedure. If done, it needs to be done by a highly skilled veterinary professional in an aseptic hospital environment. Proper anesthetic protocol and post-operative pain management is paramount.
"Finally, frequent rechecks need to be performed to ensure proper healing,” Sharpe wrote.
"Brandi is an unlicensed, unskilled individual performing surgery and possibly anesthesia in her own home on the sole purpose of monetary gain,” he continued. “It is imperative that this individual be restricted from ever performing any surgery on another dog, and that she faces the maximum penalty allowed [that will] discourage others."